Arizona facing teacher shortage
Associated Press
Feb. 20, 2009



Tucson, Arizona | Published:

PHOENIX ó Arizona schools are struggling with a critical shortage of high-quality math and science teachers and educators say the deficit couldnít come at a worse time.

With the new requirement for high-school students to take additional years of math and science, the Arizona Department of Education projects the state will need an additional 400 math and 250 science teachers per year.

Thatís roughly 500 more teachers than the stateís three public universities are currently producing.

Darcy Renfro, executive director of Arizona STEM Education Center at Science Foundation Arizona, said the group will announce in the next few months a major initiative to recruit and retain math and science teachers.

She said Arizona also will be in the running to receive new federal education grants for STEM ó or science, technology, engineering and math.

Some district officials said the state numbers arenít as bad as they look on paper and that some teachers who are certified in only one field such as biology are transitioning into more difficult fields such as chemistry.

Other people with science backgrounds in the private sector are also embarking on new careers as teachers.